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The Darley July Cup

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History

If you want a tip as to which horse will end the season as Europe’s top sprinter, then look no further than Newmarket’s Darley July Cup.

One of the most valuable and prestigious sprints of the British Flat racing calendar, the July Cup has a record of attracting the best contenders.

Jockey Hayley Turner had cause to celebrate in 2011 as she became the second woman to win a British Group 1 race on board the David Simcock-trained Dream Ahead. Run over six furlongs (1,200 metres) of the July Course, the Darley July Cup is open to three-year-olds or older while in 2013 Lethal Force smashed the track record with a pillar-to-post victory. In 2014 Slade Power followed in Lethal Force’s footsteps, winning both the Diamond Jubilee and the Darley July Cup.

Queen Victoria may have been hard to amuse but the first two runnings of this race, in 1876-7, must have raised a faint smile. Both were won by Springfield, who was bred by the monarch.

Current leading jockeys: John Egan, Paul Hanagan and Adam Kirby – all 2 wins
Current leading trainers:
Aidan O’Brien, 4 wins (1999, 2001, 2010, 2018).

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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U S Navy Flag gives Ryan Moore maiden July Cup win

Ryan Moore achieved a first success in the Darley July Cup as he guided U S Navy Flag to an impressive all-the-way victory.

The three-year-old colt  was one of five runners for the Ballydoyle yard of Aidan O’Brien but Moore was very much on right one – soon in the lead and never really looking like being headed in the QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

The Kevin Ryan-trained Brando, third in the July Cup last year, finished a length and  three quarters behind in second with Fleet Review, another O’Brien challenger, and Sir Dancealot the next pair home.

Moore went straight to the front of the group that raced down the middle of the track and he turned all of his rivals away up the hill.

The son of War Front, winner of Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst as a two-year-old, has been racing over a mile in recent starts but the drop back to sprinting brought out the best in him and it’s likely he will be kept at sprint trips from now on.

“What he did last year was unbelievable,” O’Brien said. “What threw us was that he was able to win a Dewhurst, after setting a strong pace and he nearly won an Irish Guineas, probably the toughest mile any horse can run, and he was absolutely out on his head in the final furlong but still kept trying, so he’s an unbelievable little horse to be doing that. He shouldn’t have been able to do that.

“We were hoping that he would put on a performance today and obviously we have our eye on the Everest Stakes in Australia, he’ll probably have a little rest now, he’s had a tough time, then we’ll train him for the Everest.

“Speed is his biggest attribute but heart is his next biggest, he never lies down and is an amazing horse.”

Ryan said of the gallant Brando: “We knew we had him in great shape and while we wanted to go to Royal Ascot, we just felt he was so good at Newmarket that we’d train it for this race and it nearly came off, didn’t it?

“It is a little bit gut-wrenching that it hasn’t, but I’m proud of him and we’ll try and win it next year.”

O’Brien also saddled the third home, Fleet Review (50/1), who was a three-quarters a length further back under Wayne Lordon.

The rider said: “I jumped well. I had a good position following Ryan [Moore, on US Navy Flag] and he took me all the way into the race. He stays well, he tries hard and he’s working his way into maybe getting a big race one day. He’s a fine horse and I’m delighted with the way he ran.”

David Elsworth was also thrilled with the run of Sir Dancealot, who was a head back in fourth under Gerald Mosse.

Elsworth said: “I wish I had a dozen like him. He’s easy to train, especially easier than some of the bad ones.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

Newmarket is known as the “Home of Racing” - and who would argue?

Certainly not James I, the first notable fan who built a palace in the Suffolk town in 1605. Racing fanatic Charles II followed suit, establishing the first horse race ever run in Britain under written rules. The Rowley Mile Racecourse, indeed – one of two at Newmarket, the other being the July Course – is named after his favourite hack, Old Rowley.

Today, Newmarket is horseracing’s centre of the Universe, with 2,500 thoroughbreds in training, shared by 75 licensed trainers and spread out over 2,800 acres of training grounds. Oh, and there’s also enough space left over for 65 stud farms, including the National Stud, and Tattersalls, the biggest horse sales company in Europe.

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas, one of Britain’s five Classics, is hosted by Newmarket. The race was first run in 1809. The venue also stages the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Getting there

Newmarket Racecourses,
Westfield House,
The Links,
Newmarket,
Suffolk,
CB8 0TG

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